# PhD position Mathematical modelling of contact lens moulding

Funded PhD position available at MACSI

Project title:  Mathematical modelling of contact lens moulding

Centre description:

CONFIRM, the new €47 million centre for smart manufacturing, seeks to add intelligence to production systems, creating the factories of the future, where products can be fully customised and adaptable. The overall SFI investment supports cutting-edge basic and applied research with strong industry engagement, driving economic benefits and positive societal impact.

PhD project description

Contact lens manufacture is a major and growing industry; in 2013, the global contact lens market experienced revenues of more than 7 billion US dollars[1]. One of the key steps in manufacturing a contact lens is moulding the lens to the correct shape. This can be achieved in a range of different ways; one possibility is to squeeze the liquid raw material of the lens between two curved surfaces. The raw material is then cured to produce a solid, and the two halves of the mould can be separated. Various problems can arise during the moulding stage of contact lens manufacture; bubbles and other defects can form in the contact lens, or large quantities of raw material can be lost as the two halves of the mould are pressed together. The aim of this project is to reduce the impact of these problems and optimise the manufacturing process by developing and analysing mathematical models of the physical processes involved in moulding.

The central focus of this work will be on understanding what happens to the fluid as the two halves of the mould are pressed together and how this depends on important parameters such as the speed of pressing, the alignment of the two halves of the mould, and the surface tension. The student will work on developing models of the moulding process using fluid mechanics and then analyse those models using asymptotic techniques and numerical simulations to obtain insights into the dynamics of moulding and the sensitivity of this process to the key parameters. The PhD student will work in collaboration with Professor James Gleeson as well as local, international, and industrial partners. This PhD project offers significant opportunity for the student to gain valuable interdisciplinary and international experience.

Applications

We invite applications from highly motivated and outstanding students with a strong background and interest in mathematical sciences or related disciplines. Some knowledge of continuum mechanics and/or asymptotic methods is desirable.

Informal queries to macsi@ul.ie.

Applicants should send a CV and cover letter to Professor James Gleeson (james.gleeson@ul.ie)

[1] Reference: https://www.hexaresearch.com/research-report/contact-lenses-industry/